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What new-fangled features will RV makers design next?
By Chuck Woodbury

You wonder what RV makers will come up with next to satisfy RVers who want "everything." Is there no end? Here are some of the things they have already concocted for the amenities-loving RV enthusiast.

If you so desire, you can now buy an RV with two bathrooms. The old standard one-bath unit just isn't good enough for some folks, who prefer their own space or who don't like waiting while hubby peruses Popular Mechanics on the pot.

At most large RV shows you will likely encounter an RV with an interior staircase that leads to a roof patio. This would be a
Airstream's Skydeck model includes a roof patio.
good choice for RVers who watch frequent shuttle launches, but is probably more widely used at NASCAR races where the rooftop cooler would be handy for quick access to Bud.

Some RVs come with fireplaces, most fake. They don't actually heat up. Most look phony. I believe the space could be better used for a waste basket: RV makers don't understand that RVers create trash and need wastebaskets because it's not cool to toss spent cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli in the campfire.

Slide outs are the really big thing. If you don't have a slide out on your RV, then you are pretty much "stone age." At first, RVs came with one slide. Push a button and the living room expanded. Then there were two-slide models: instead of a boring double bed, you could have a queen bed and thereby put an extra six inches between you and that snoring creature at your side! Then there were three slides, then four and then five. Somewhere along the line, a highly-caffeinated RV assembly guy said, "How about we just build one giant slide the whole length of the RV instead of wasting time cutting out holes for lots of itty bitty ones?" Dah! Nowadays, it's not hard to find such "full-slide" models, but not on cheap RVs, just on fancy ones favored by retired dentists and such.

Toyhaulers are the new fad. With these RVs, the back end is basically a big empty room. Put your ATVs, motorcycles or even your meth lab in there. Most toyhaulers are travel trailers but you find motorhome-toy haulers as well. Some RVers find the room a handy space to exile their teenagers.

I once came across an RVing couple with a waterbed in their motorhome. "My wife would not travel with me unless she had a waterbed," the husband confessed. Talk about useless weight! Me? I would have chucked the wife and brought along a dog.

Many RVs these days have basements, but you can't stand in them if you're beyond your diaper years. But some are big enough to cram in a tiny car, perfect for pigmy clans.

Some motorhomes have a laundry chute to the basement. And, yes, many RVs these days have clothes washer-dryer combos: No need to associate with the common folk at the coin laundry. Speaking of cleaning, a few RVs have vacuum cleaner hookups throughout the rig. Just plug in a hose and suck dirt!

Take an aquatic road trip with a Terra Wind.
If you have a million dollars handy and want a very special rig, then buy the 45-foot Terra Wind which you can drive right into the water without visiting Davy Jones Locker. It has a propeller and floats like a houseboat! Bring your fishing pole, but please don't dump your holding tanks: Trout hate that soupy stuff, although carp feel differently.

Old hat-kinda RV things are microwaves, built-in coffee makers, outside showers and stereos, and satellite TV and Internet dishes. Popular amenities in recent years are high definition TVs, and back-up cameras for a driver even though in most cases a rear window and side mirrors would do fine. There is something very "American" about watching a TV rather than live action.

Glass enclosed showers are hot now, especially on big ol' motorcoaches favored by RVers decades beyond their prime. Is it a big charge to watch great-grandpa soap up naked? Personally, I needed one of these models back in my early 20s, when my mission in life was to befriend college cheerleaders.

But, if you think this fancy stuff on RVs is new, you are wrong. Back in the olden days, before the word RV was ever coined, one sanity-challenged guy built himself a 75-foot-long, two-story motorhome that featured a portable swimming pool and a helicopter landing pad (presumably, the pilot would prefer the challenge of landing atop this teeny platform than in the adjacent hundred acre field!).

And how about the home-built fifth wheel trailer of the early twentieth century? It included sleeping quarters for the chauffeur in the tow vehicle, and a tiny maid quarters at the back of the rig. There was no way the snobby RVing family would sleep with the hired help!

I'm sure I have forgotten many swell things available in today's RVs. But no matter how many there are, more will arrive next year, most of which will be basically worthless. Show biz, you know. . .

Yet, on my next rig I'm thinking about getting a built in sonar device for finding buried treasure.

Chuck Woodbury is the editor of and host of the Better Business Bureau DVD, "Buying a Recreational Vehicle."

Drive Your Motorhome Like A Pro  DVD: Extended and Full-time RV Travel  The RV Makeover Bible

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